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January 31, 2015

Notebooks: like or dislike?

Notebooks

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Call me old-fashioned, but I keep my recipe ideas, kitchen experiments, and wish lists in notebooks, the non-electronic kind, filled with lined paper. And I write notes with a pen. Yes, I have a smart phone, with apps for taking notes, but I always have a notebook in my pocket or purse to scribble (or sometimes sketch) my inspirations. When I cook, there's a notebook on the countertop, so I can record every step of a recipe, especially the ones I want to share with you. I'm partial to Moleskines, but I have some Russell + Hazel looseleaf notebooks that I love to use when I'm working on e-cookbooks and other projects. Are you a notebook person?

Notebooks: like or dislike?

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January 28, 2015

40 fabulous recipes with peanut butter

40 fabulous peanut butter recipes, sweet and savory!

As my husband Ted and I prepare for the move back to Boston (and much smaller pantry space), I've been cleaning out and using up some ingredients that have been languishing. I'm embarrassed to tell you I found three jars of peanut butter on the shelf, which is weird, considering that I'm not a huge peanut butter fan. I do love PB in sauces (especially spicy Asian-inspired ones), but there's so much more you can do with it. And if you bake, you can probably give me a hundred ideas of how to use some of what I've got on hand. These 40 recipes that feature peanut butter really inspire me. What's your favorite way to use it?

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January 25, 2015

Pressure cooker chickpea gremolata with green olives, pine nuts and raisins {vegan, gluten-free}

Chickpea gremolata with olives and raisins #vegan #glutenfree

Other than in hummus, chickpeas don't turn me on. Or they didn't, until I tried this chickpea gremolata and pumped it up with pine nuts and raisins and green olives. This dish was the kind of perfect storm that can occur when you have a perfect pantry: a long-forgotten gift package of dried chickpeas discovered on the back shelf of the cupboard; a bag of giant mixed raisins from Trader Joe's; and a pressure cooker standing empty. The best thing about this dish is the texture of the chickpeas. Without any presoaking, add the dry chickpeas to the pressure cooker, and what comes out is not in the least bit mushy or overcooked, without any canned-chickpea aftertaste. Then, toss those un-mushy chickpeas with robust fresh ingredients for a quick marriage of sweet and salty and olive oil and heat. Divine.

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January 24, 2015

Raisins: like or dislike?

My favorite golden raisins.

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

In the house where I grew up, raisins were everywhere: in noodle puddings, in cinnamon-raisin bread (the squishy grocery-store kind I still secretly crave), and in my lunch box almost every day. I love golden raisins, and I use them in curries, tagines and chutneys as well as oatmeal cookies and biscotti. I mix them into my Irish soda bread, though an Irish friend told me this is a major no-no. People seem to have strong feelings about raisins.

Raisins: like or dislike?

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January 21, 2015

Slow cooker shredded beef chili with beans

Slow cooker shredded beef chili, topped with guacamole and lime. Sublime!

On a cold day a few weeks ago, my husband Ted and I had pre-theater dinner with our friends Mary and Mike at our favorite across-the-street-from-the-house restaurant. We shared an appetizer-sized portion of short rib chili, just a few heavenly rich and sweet bites for each of us. When I decided to make my own version, I knew I wanted something a bit leaner; after all, some of the amazingness of the chili came from the fatty short ribs. So, instead, I used my stand-by, brisket. Coffee and cocoa give this chili a deep Mexican mole undertone. A hit of fresh lime juice at the very end is an absolute must, and a blob of guacamole on top makes the dish just about perfect. The chili freezes well, so make the full recipe and you'll be all set for weeknight dinners or that upcoming big football game.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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